Falling for Europe: One Month In


Freiburg and I are coming up on our one month-a-versry and I’m not expecting any gifts. These past four weeks have been wundebar. Each day is more exciting than the next, filled with unpredictability and exhilaration. Although I may have grown several inches around my waist from carbonated wine and schnitzel, the things I have learned thus far outweigh the beer belly. For example, there is no greater rush than globetrotting. Ladies and gents, I’ve been bit with the travel bug, and I’m not sure I’ll ever (want to) heal.

This past weekend about two thirds of the EU clan boarded our double decker bus to the Swiss Alps. Naturlich another day of travel equals light rain and a thick fog for our team. The impending weather even cancelled the third (hardest) hike, which involved many cliffs. As my seminar professor said: 90% success rate may work in business, but at IES, that’s a bad return. Needless to say, I was a little relieved.

NB: The ride to the alps was beautiful. Switzerland looks like a literal fairy tale. Even though I saw a castle, cows, and green grass, I did not meet my Prince Charming….but it was a foggy day.

I’ve been told I exaggerate so most people don’t trust me when I speak, but believe me when I say this: the Alps are by far the most beautiful, spectacular, incredible, amazing, piece of land I have ever seen (don’t tell the Adirondacks). Sitting in a 10 by 5 gondola, I tried to soak in the beauty below me without getting too nauseous. We were one mile up. At first, we went on a nice, leisure stroll across flat land. I’ve attached a picture of me in my Skidmore tour guide sweatshirt so you all can see the postcardsque backdrop. Although I’ve been told I look photoshopped, I promise it’s real.

To say I’m an inexperienced hiker is an understatement. But when hike decision-making happened, I gave into impulses and picked the mile down hill climb–not the trip to the cheesery. Considering my love for Vermont Cheddar extra sharp cheese, it was a very tough decision. But when in the Alps right? Plus, I had to have a story to tell my friends in the outing club back at Skidmore.

Well, I got to know the alps real well…slipping and sliding my way down. I was one with nature. I’ve got the mud stains to prove it. If it weren’t for one of my strong patient friends, I probably would be stuck in a ditch right now (although maybe I would have met my prince). Despite my downfalls, the trip was literally and figuratively breath taking.

Today, I had the pleasure again to visit Switzerland. This time for something completely different: to Geneva. From the bits of Geneva I’d seen House Hunters International, I could not wait to see this city on a hill. And it was not a let down. From the UN building (all right, it may not be NYC, but it’s a close second) to the backdrop of the Alps, it is a phenomenal city.  Except that it cost 4 Francs for a small cup of coffee. I would have to choose between my coffee addiction and living—and I almost always pick coffee.

Now, I am just itching to travel everywhere. A few friends and I are in the process of booking our fall break trip Amsterdam and Copenhagen. And this weekend I am off to Munich for Oktoberfest. And in two weeks IES sends us on our second trip: Luxembourg, Brussels and Paris. I guess that should satisfy my hunger for exploration for this month.

It’s almost 1 am here and I am staying up with a few friends to watch the first American political debate. All four of us have agreed not to verbally share our opinions during the debate for sake of our friendship and sanity. Whether it’s hiking in the Alps or not talking, a challenge awaits me everyday abroad.